Hello and welcome to the world of Ghatika! It’s really nice to meet you. I am excited to have you join our journey of creativity, discovery and history. You can call me Treefingers (if you know, you know) and I will be your guide to our little 2d game of building, adventure and exploration. This is going to be fun!
So why a 2d game? And why a colony sim? I have always loved city-building and strategy games, the idea of managing little minions as they go about their lives doing your biding brings out a sense of responsibility and ownership. You celebrate their victories, mourn their losses and participate in their mundane activities in-between. But these games sometimes tend to focus a lot on the optimization of your supply chain and armies, little tables with a lot of numbers and statistics that I feel sometimes take away your connection with your little digital people. You are zoomed out on a large map where you tend to start racing against dropping profits, chasing higher scores or micro-managing your armies.
While there is definitely a lot of things to say about the strength of these kind of mechanics (these games are really popular after all), I do feel that they could use a bit of a human touch to them. Let’s take an example. A lot of colony sims today have pretty detailed stats for your citizens. Their proficiency at tasks, hunger, energy, happiness etc, that’s a lot of details for you to look after and it makes for pretty engaging game play.
But imagine for a second. Instead of assigning your citizens to tasks and have them mindlessly going about doing tasks day in and day out, with sleep and hunger just being another set of stats to worry about, they actually behave like they are part of a community. You still assign them things to do, but that would not be their sole purpose in the game. They would do basic human things, eat together, go to sleep at fixed hours based on their jobs, interact with each other, take a break now and then, celebrate festivals, have disagreements, so many real human things and needs. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? You would go from a disassociated overlord to an actual leader, managing your band of characters with their quirks and personalities. All you need to do is to look at Beep from Kenshi to understand how much of a difference an interesting personality makes to your gaming experience.
Now how best to bring all of these details into focus as you play a game. Step 1 is to forego using a cursor to interact with your world and instead give you an avatar. That way you are more directly connected to your little colony and your people as you walk around the game map. Step 2 is to move away from a 3d or isometric view where you are placed in almost a God-like overview mode and instead make it side-on 2d view like a traditional platform game. This helps us keep things a bit simpler and model detailed 2d assets to populate our game world. More importantly, you are now at street-view level, allowing you to witness and observe all the curious things your characters do. This, I feel adds a level of immersion and engagement to your play through that would usually be lost from your lofty high position of traditional strategy and colony sim games.
Now that we have our basics in place, we need to start looking at how we go about populating the world of Ghatika. Let’s talk about this in our next post, where I walk you through the art style, the cultural references, the game environment and other good stuff.
PS: Have you checked out the World Book of Ghatika yet? Remember that this story is completely made up, so don’t get political anywhere. We would love to hear what you think, share our page and follow our social media for updates. 🙂